Donald Trump with children's book

Book Sales Are Down. Is Trump to Blame?

Trump’s presidency was able to take the novel “1984,” over 60 years old, and make it a best seller again. The novel by George Orwell is still in the top 100 of the year, sitting comfortably at number 20 on Barnes & Nobles top 100 list, however not all books have been so lucky.


“I was sort of jokingly told that any books that weren’t political, dystopian, or both, weren’t really selling,” said author Alan Massey to New Republic, whose highly praised book hasn’t been selling like it should.


It isn’t that artists aren’t producing. Even though Trump has threatened to make cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts, several artists, including Kathy Griffin and Broad City actresses Abbi Jacobson and Ilana, have been fighting back by bleeping out the president’s name in the upcoming season like you would a swear word.


In the same article from the New Republic, literary agent Monika Woods says that since near the end of 2016’s presidential race, “writers were booked on ‘Good Morning America’ and they had to be rebooked and rebooked and rebooked. Even New York Times bestselling authors with books out in Fall 2016 struggled.”



"Big Brother is watching" from 1984

Image courtesy of Open Culture


The reason “1984” has been doing so well is because of the “fake news” parallels between now and the novel. In “1984” the news is edited. Not in a way that there is fact-checking and spelling revision, but in the way that the past is changed by the government.


Art imitates life, and life seems to imitate art. Several times the administration has said one thing, and then the truth revealed it was a lie. One example is Kellyanne Conway defending Sean Spicer when he lied about the president’s inauguration crowd size.


This isn’t the first time the book has seen a resurgence. When Edward Snowden outed the privacy invasion by the National Security Agency in 2013, the book spiked in Amazon’s best sellers list.


Cover of book "1984"

Image courtesy of Quartz


The publishers this year sold so many they had to print even more than planned. “We put through a 75,000 copy reprint this week. That is a substantial reprint and larger than our typical reprint for ‘1984,’” a Penguin spokesman told CNN.


Other books that have benefited for this country’s shady administration have included Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” and “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline.


The story that took the novel’s desirable top position was “Hillbilly Elegy” by J. D. Vance. The book was recommended by the New York Times for those who don’t understand the working-class whites who enabled Trump to win, but would like to.


Based on recent political events, it’s hard to know when dystopias and politics will stop trumping (forgive the pun) other books and give up some of the spotlight.


Feature image courtesy of Daily Mail.